Pocket of Asia Yields 208 New Species—in 1 Year
Mekong region's amazing biodiversity under threat, WWF warns
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2011 6:18 AM CST
The WWF announced the discovery of five species of carnivorous pitcher plants, Nepenthes, around the Greater Mekong region.    (Marcello Catalano)

(Newser) – It's a region that produces a new species every other day: Carnivorous plants that can eat mice, birds, and lizards. An all-female species of lizard that reproduces by self-cloning. Brightly colored geckos bathed in orange, yellow, blue, and green markings. A noseless monkey that looks like it's wearing an Elvis wig. These are just a few of the 208 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region last year, reports the World Wildlife Fund.

Stretching from Yunnan province in southern China to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, and Thailand, the Greater Mekong region is full of biodiversity, but is under increasing pressure from development, the WWF warns. The recent extinction of Vietnam's rhinoceros population has spurred concern for rare wildlife in the area. "This is a region of extraordinary richness in terms of biodiversity, but also one that is extremely fragile,” a WWF official tells Time. “It’s losing biodiversity at a tragic rate."